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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. January's Theme: "Path"
Volume 4 Issue 2 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Paths of Joyful Change
by Rev. Cheryl Jewett


Have you ever been confronted with this extremely uncomfortable statement - "You are your own worst enemy"? You probably are, you know - way too often, and far too unnecessarily. Most people spend so much time conjuring up plans to handle almost any eventuality, they don't have time left to be in the present moment. How silly is that. Not all of us are cut out to be "Be Prepared" scouts.  

Think about that. We'd have to carry a medicine cabinet, a clothes closet, a tool chest, and a pantry. Oh, and don't forget that deep-hole-of-a-purse to carry cosmetics, gum, and medications, depending upon your age and life situation. Truly, though, we are a self-absorbed species. The "Me" generation of the 60's often complained people felt they spent far too much time focusing on themselves. "Self-cherishing is the root of all suffering," a Tibetan saying declares, and might well have been the mantra of parents back then.  

Yet, is it, if you replace the word "cherishing" with "love"? I don't think so. Self-love is where all healing begins. Rather than saying a focus on oneself causes suffering, it's saying quite the opposite. A fixation on oneself to the exclusion of anything or anyone else can, like any other obsessive thought, be problematic, yes.  

What the phrase refers to, though, is the mistaken idea that life should be all good or all bad, all black or all white, all upbeat with no melancholy, all joy and no despair. Do you know such a world? I sure don't. Life is, in all reality, a mixture of sanity and confusion, often interwoven so tightly it's difficult to sort it out. A jumble of pleasurable feelings and not-so-pleasurable feelings which causes us to subjectively label them.  

Each and every issue in life holds within it, a gift for growth from the Life-Force Itself. We may perceive it as negative because we feel uneasy. But, our real error is in not allowing "negativity" in the front door of the mind; at first knock, fear strikes and we turn it away. We're taught to NOT let it close enough to see it, smell it, taste it, hear it, touch it. "Negativity" frightens us, all forms of it - anger, resentment, envy, fear. We push it away with all the power we can muster.  

Because these feelings hold within them the wisdom of the ages, we don't need to justify our existence for having them nor do we need to change who we are, as we seek resolution. Living with that dissonance is really okay. We can still be happy even if we do feel parts of who we are, are unacceptable. So, don't be afraid to open that door, and explore those convoluted feelings, even though you don't like them or understand them.  

The opportunity for transmutation lies through confronting this discomfort. "Negativity" hurts everyone. Primarily, you. Know that behind negativity is the darkest shadow of fear. Am I okay? Why are people so mean to each other? How do I dig myself out of this mess? Why can't we just get along with each other? Stop, though, and look deeper into that shadow. You will see it really is quite shallow. Quick, look through it, and you will see on the other side, the brilliance and softness of an angel's wings; one labeled Love and other wing, Wisdom.   

So, how can we learn to walk a more joyful path? Accept an unconditional friendliness toward yourself, a Tibetan concept called maitri, as your new reality. Decide right now to change your path to a more positive and constructive tone. Choose trusting and knowing rather than doubting and fearing. Stop telling frightening stories. Be honest and gentle by getting in touch with all of your feelings. In each moment, be loving, compassionate, and tenderly present with self, others, and the universe. In other words, make a sustained effort to be your own best friend.  

Indeed, life involves a myriad of choices. That's what makes life interesting. We can learn to make decisions which guide us down more contented paths. Our free will, God-given, is to make sound choices, following paths which offer us the opportunity to experience prosperity, not scarcity. To ceremonial rituals lifting us up, not destructive rituals, bringing us down. To open-minded harmony, not close-minded intolerance. To freedom, not conformity, rejoicing in our differences rather than damning them.  

This enlightened sensitivity can bring a deeper relaxation with life rather than a struggle. Then, we can breathe a deep sigh of relief, and finally feel a soothing, healing consciousness flow through us, a harmony-induced peace. For then, we find ourselves, as Reverend Robert Schuller says, "being in tune with the eternity of nature". The immortality of ourselves. And, the God-Spirit's Bounteous Infinity!  

Often, we become overwhelmed with all the decisions life can require. In the span of one minute, so many decisions are made, not life-altering but still options. If we order a burger, we have to decide how we want it cooked (fried, grilled, rare or well done?) what we want on it (cheese, catsup, mustard, pickles?), and around it (white or whole wheat bun. with fries, onion rings, or soup?) Though this example is very simplistic, it illustrates just how many decisions we are faced with making each moment in life.    

Of course, these choices are nothing compared to other major decisions we might face. Do we run through the busy dangerous intersection on a yellow light? Do we have sex before marriage? Do we play it safe, using condoms, or throw caution to the wind? Do we kick the dog or scream at our life partner at the end of a hard day at work? Do we drink ourselves into oblivion? Or, use some other substance which temporarily takes away the emotional or physical pain we feel?  

Choice, a true understanding of choice, acknowledges it is really a struggle between our ego and our Spirit. Knowing that, do we choose to live our lives trusting and knowing, in other words, listening to Spirit? Or, fearing and doubting, listening to ego? Do we, in essence, choose love, not fear? The ego feels it must protect us, and only it knows best how to take care of us. But, does it? Do we really, as a Child of this Divinely-Sourced Universe, need protection such as the ego offers?  

This journey of spiritual awakening begins with only one step. One step at a time, as with any journey. First, one step, then another one. Some steps being difficult. Some easy. Some enormous, some microscopic. It is this steady progressive movement toward discovering precious Sacred Silent Stillness within which keeps us on our God-track. Our only alternatives are to either constantly feel anxious, insecure, and frightened about life, OR incessantly bounce back and forth between feelings of fear and love. Undoubtedly, choosing our life path is one of the most crucial decisions we ever make.                

Having Multiple Sclerosis for years, plus the untimely death of her youngest son a few years ago, forced Cheryl to re-invent her thought processes. As a metaphysical minister, Cheryl seeks to inspire healing, so she developed a website dedicated to those who are grieving.

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